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Discipline / Investigations

Emotional distress suits: Court says employers can access medical records going back 2 years

Employers have a right to defend themselves if an employee sues them for discriminating in a way that inflicts emotional distress. Now a court has agreed that employers are entitled to see medical records dating back two years from the time of the alleged discrimination that the employee says triggered the emotional distress.

Stop lawsuits cold: Launch immediate investigation when bias accusations fly


Some managers worry needlessly that they will be sued for discrimination if they fire an employee—especially one who acts as though she has a chip on her shoulder. But as long as an internal investigation finds that the employee hasn’t been discriminated against because of a protected characteristic, you likely have little to worry about.

When harassment case is on the line, be ready to prove you did everything you could to stop it

Employers have an obligation to try to prevent harassment when it erupts. But courts often give an “A” for effort. They won’t measure your efforts solely by whether your prevention strategy worked.

Worker always complaining? Investigate anyway


Some employees gripe all the time. You know them: They’re the ones who regularly appear in your doorway, ready to file yet another complaint with HR about supposed unfair treatment and discrimination. No matter how groundless, look into their claims.

Three’s a crowd: Can an employee bring someone else along to his performance appraisal?

Q. An employee has asked to have his wife present during his performance evaluation. Does he have the right to bring a representative?

How to Respond to an EEOC Complaint: 10 Steps to Success

The EEOC and state and local agencies have been filing more administrative charges in recent years and that trend is likely to continue. Because administrative charges can be precursors to discrimination lawsuits, it’s critical for you to handle them properly. These 10 tips will help you prepare to respond: 1. Tell the whole story Often, […]

When employee threatens, you can and should discipline–regardless of reason


Employers and employees have the right to a safe work environment free from violence or direct threats of harm. Punishing an employee who puts others in danger or creates widespread fear is not only appropriate, but essential. That’s true regardless of the underlying reason for the threatening behavior. You can discipline the employee, no matter why he misbehaved.

Investigation must be reasonable–not perfect


Have you worried that your investigations into employee wrongdoing aren’t good enough? Stop fretting. As long as your investigations are fair and reasonable, they don’t have to be perfect. The workplace isn’t a court of law, and employers don’t have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an employee broke a rule.

It’s safe to tell the truth about former employees

Let’s say you have fired someone for breaking company rules, conduct so severe that the police get involved. What should you tell people who call later, looking for references on the former employee? The truth!

Credibility plays part in handling harassment


When you have to fire a protected-class employee for sexual harassment, there’s always the fear that he will turn around and sue for discrimination. But remember: Credibility plays a part in deciding what happened in cases of alleged harassment. If a respected and trusted employee made the harassment accusation, the fired worker will have a hard time winning a lawsuit.